UPDATED: Crews battle fire at Fry Foods in Tiffin

By Tanieya Lewis - email | bio
Posted by LS

TIFFIN (WTOL) - Multiple crews from around Seneca County fought a fire at the Fry Foods, Inc., factory.

The fire broke out about 8:50 a.m. About 30 first-shift workers escaped. There were no injuries, likely because the workers regularly engage in fire drills.

David Fry is part owner of the plant his parents opened in 1961. "Somebody come and got us and told us there was a fire, so my brother and myself headed down that way. Once we saw what was going on, we had the building evacuated and the fire department - got them in here as soon as possible."

Inside, gas-powered industrial fryers cook up foods that get distributed to businesses across the U.S. and Canada.

Tiffin Fire Chief William Ennis said one of the fryers caught fire. It took the help of three agencies to put it out.

Now Fry is left to sort through the aftermath. Until we really get inside, see where we're at, see what the scenario is, I can't even begin to answer those questions."

He does know that the roof has a hole in it and that inside there's heavy smoke damage. The Department of Agriculture will tell him whether the food is spoiled.

That would be bad news for Dale Schwopchow, who just sold his last bag of Fry Foods frozen onion rings. It's a customer favorite at Surf-n-Turf Specialties. "I hope they can get it fixed and up and running within a week. We need the product." He says any slowdown at the plant, not only hurts his deli, but the local economy on the whole.

"It's very important to the people in Tiffin, as well, because there ain't many jobs left. They had quite a few people working out there, and that's what scares people right now. We can't afford to lose any more jobs in this town."

Fry says work will go on. Some employees will go to other plants while others help with cleanup.

Fry Foods is a family business that's been in operation for more than 75 years, though it opened in Tiffin in 1961.

On the Web: Fry Foods, Inc.